Chevrolet global marketing chief Tim Mahoney says the Bow Tie brand will see healthy growth in 2014 thanks to 25 global product launches in 2013 and an increased sense of brand integrity after taking home both the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards earlier this month.
“This will be the year we make the move and continue to grow,” Mahoney told Wards Auto in an interview.
Chevrolet sales in the U.S. totalled 1.95 million units in 2013, up 5.6 percent from 1.85 million units in 2012. Globally, Chevrolet moved 4.98 million units.
“Chevrolet is in the best shape globally that it has ever been,” Sam Fiorani, an analyst with AutoForecast Solutions told Wards.
Mahoney is anticipating another year-over year sales uptick for Chevrolet in the U.S. after the brand launched 13 new models in 2013, including the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, a highly-important volume seller.
Even though Silverado sales rose 14.8 percent from 418,312 units in 2012 to 480,414 units in 2013, the truck has faced stiff competition thanks to competitive pricing and incentives from the competition. However, GM’s vice president of global product development and supply chain, Mark Reuss, isn’t swayed by temporary dealer incentives.
“We’ve made a great truck and we’ll keep at it,” Reuss told Wards. “We’re not going to respond to monthly incentives and temporary monthly sales tactics.”
Mahoney is confident in the Silverado’s sales turnaround, too. He says winning Truck of the Year will help its marketing case, while the Corvette winning Car of the Year should help with overall brand image.
“In all of our communications, these two awards will be tagged, and we’ll push that out and really take advantage of it,” said Mahoney. “It is the sort of third-party endorsement that the vehicles are really special.”
Chevrolet’s recently-unveiled 2015 Colorado mid-size pickup will also arrive at dealerships this year. Aimed at a younger generation of lifestyle-oriented truck buyers, the pickup could help Chevrolet gain new customers.
Mahoney also thinks the brand’s range of sedans, which includes the 2014 Impala, recently redesigned Malibu and the Cruze, mainly the Clean Turbo Diesel version, will help with an overall sales increase in 2014. Even though the Impala, which was a staple on rental lots in the past, saw a sales drop of 7.4 percent from 169,351 to 156,797 units year-over- year, the car is now selling mainly to retail buyers, thereby helping Chevrolet gain new customers in the process.
And seeing that the last all-new full size SUV from Chevrolet was introduced way back in 2005, Mahoney thinks the new 2015 Tahoe and 2015 Suburban, due out in the spring, should help spark a sales increase. The two models accounted for combined sales of 134,762 units last year, an increase of 15.2 percent year-over-year.
Chevrolet also hopes to see a sales increase in China through sale of Sail lineup of small cars, which sold a total of 213,075 units last year. Overall sales in the country rose 8.5 percent to 526,077 in 2013.
Meanwhile, Mahoney expects sales in Brazil, Chevrolet’s third-largest market behind the U.S. and China, to see an upswing thanks to the FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
With the busy launch year behind it, Chevrolet can now concentrate on marketing and moving its new models. Additionally, with the decision to pull out of Europe, the brand can concentrate on marketing itself in more important markets like China, Brazil, and Russia. We’d also add India — where Chevy’s sales have been on the decline — to that list.